Los Banos

August 1, 2014

Few candidates on ballot as filing period nears a close

According to the Merced County Registrar of Voters, three of the seven people up for re-election have filed papers.

The mayor and two councilmen have signaled their intent to run for office, school board trustees have not.

Candidates have until Aug. 8 to file papers.

Mayor Mike Villalta made it official July 18. Councilmen Tom Faria and Scott Silveira filed on July 28 and July 23, respectively. The three incumbents had no challengers as of Thursday.

The terms of Los Banos Unified School District Board Trustees Dennis Areias, District 1; Andree Soares, District 3; Chase Hurley, District 5; and John Mueller, District 7, will expire this year.

Retired teacher and former teacher’s union representative Anthony Parreira, who filed July 18 to run in District 5, is the only challenger in the school board race.

So far, none of the school board incumbents have filed to run for re-election. If an incumbent fails to seek re-election, the deadline for filing is extended to Aug. 13.

By-district elections began in 2012 for the school district, and are under consideration for the City Council.

On Wednesday, the City Council closed the public hearing on the switch from at-large to by-district elections. City officials are expected to vote Wednesday to put the issue on the ballot.

The city has come under fire in recent weeks from the Community Advocacy Coalition, which believes that the current at-large voting method is a violation of the 2001 California Voting Rights Act based on its inability to produce Hispanic elected officials in a city where Hispanics are 68 percent of the population. Los Banos has until the end of the filing period to submit the ballot measure.

The City Council will ask voters to approve draft Plan 3 out of the four districting maps offered for public consideration for the switch. As a general-law city, the issue must be put before voters.

If voters approve, by-district elections will go into effect in 2016.

Election Day is Nov. 4.

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